Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sex & the City

As an American woman, I find I have always taken for granted how easily it is to talk about one subject or another with other women. We girls can talk about anything from our innermost feelings to sexual positions with our men without batting an eye. On the other hand, I have read repeatedly
from books written by other expats that this sort of freedom of speech is a big fat no-no among French women, even for those who have been friends for years. C'est domage! (Too bad!)

Even one of my French clients shudders if I ask him if he has a date in the evening...and he is a man. I mean from my perspective what is the big deal? The good news is it looks like things might be changing, even if just a bit.

The other night I was standing in the kitchen chatting with a friend and we were rambling on about this and that when it finally happened, the sex talk was brought up. Titillating talk and a few laughs later, I realized I hadn't had much of this kind of conversation since I had been here. It seemed so natural to me, but then I realized who I was talking to...a French woman!

So, I decided to ask, "It's my understanding that this sort of conversation is taboo amongst French womeneven for those who have known each other for years. N'est pas?"

With her thick French accent whirling around her words, she replied in English, "Yes, that is true, but things are changing. And do you know why?"

As soon as she asked, I knew the answer. I blurted out, "Sex & the City!"

"Oui, bien sur!"

Wow, who knew a television show could have such an impact on an entire culture! Well, I say kudos to the show and kudos to the French who have decided being more open is actually fun. C'est très bien!

So, for you expats, you still may want to check the private subjects at the door when talking to a French person, but who knows, maybe in the course of the evening you will be able to bring them out to play after all.

Thank you for reading and bonne journée.